Putting the Pieces Together
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Result of dice: One (Piece #25)
[Pre-requisite: Congratulatory wine]
[Pre-requisite: Tomitake Jirou’s promise]
[Pre-requisite: Draft proposal of the Emergency Manual]
...It happened just too suddenly.
Grandpa Koizumi passed away.
I never heard of him saying that his health was declining or that he was feeling ill. ...He suddenly felt a pain in his chest and he couldn’t sleep. The pain was so severe that he felt that it couldn’t wait until the next morning, so he called an ambulance for the first time in his life. He was immediately taken into emergency care, but he didn’t live to see sunrise.
It was an
acute myocardial infarction
…But in a way, it was the best possible way for him to go when compared to being in bed-ridden, slowly dilapidating and withering away. He was healthy right before his death, so I can say that he must’ve lived a wonderful life.
But still, it was all too sudden.
I should’ve called him ‘grandpa’ more… No matter how much I despair now, it is all too late. …Grandpa Koizumi would never smile his wrinkly old face back at me no matter how much I cry out to him.
…He was my guardian up until now. He looked after me all this time to assure me that all of my efforts would be righteously evaluated. While he may have done this out of spite to repatriate how he wasn’t able to provide any assistance towards my grandfather’s research, he still was an important person to me. …He wasn’t just my ordinary political backup. …But I wasn’t able to realize this when he was still alive. Up until now, I just used him like the rest of my political connections for my own agenda. …But I realized how much he meant to me once he passed away. Grandpa Koizumi was….my grandpa. He provided me the warmth that I yearned for from my own grandfather by taking care of me behind my back.
When I went to his funeral …I shed tears that I thought that forgot how to, just moments before his body was put into cremation.
Takano: “Granpa… Thank you for everything. ….I should’ve called you…grandpa more like you’ve always wanted me to… ….sniff sniff….”
…But he’ll never respond from now on. The only way to repay him for his support is to fulfill his dreams of completing this research. …I must accomplish my goal for his sake. Once my grandfather’s research is complete, grandpa Koizumi’s name will also be known once again for being the sole supporter of his research. …That is what I believed was the best way to repay him up until today. Hence, I vowed to put myself into research ever more deeply from that day forward…
But….just as I was coming back into focus…another tragedy occurred. …Once a sad thing happens, it seems bad luck comes along with it. …It was if the trail wind that was helping me sail had suddenly stopped and reverted itself into a head wind. It was sudden change in current. …One that was strong, chilly, …and saddening.
Takano: “…..What? What does that mean, Jirou-san?”
Tomitake: “…Well…You knew that Mr. Koizumi was the main political sponsor for the establishment of the Irie Facility, right? …The establishment of this place was done all thanks to Mr. Koizumi’s strong political pressure in maneuvering related bureaucracies for its approval. …He was indeed the top-ranking official who was known for the upbringing of the post-war pharmaceutical industry of Japan. He had very large political and industrial influence over these matters.”
Takano: “…So you’re saying that since Mr. Koizumi has passed away…so did his influence and pressure..?”
Tomitake: “….I don’t know the full extent of the details…but, it seems they’ve called a panel to reconsider the allocated budget for this project.”
Takano: “…You’re saying that they’re going to shut down the Irie Facility?!”
Tomitake: “Well, I haven’t heard of them reviewing the Irie Facility itself yet… But, one thing is certain. Due to Mr. Koizumi’s sudden death, there are vast confusions among the old guards and their factions, as well as the civil strife within the party for his successor. And it seems the opposing faction is gaining influence in the human resources of our client. As a result, the word is buzz that they’ve begun to dig deep into the holy treasure chest that the Koizumi faction held to fund their projects…. In either case, all of these are just too difficult to explain from my end so all of these could just be rumors…”
Even though Jirou-san told me that these were just rumors…it was a clear sign that I’ve hit a sudden head wind… Or, …perhaps Jirou-san already knows about what is to come, and he is warning me that the wind will only get stronger…
On the next routine audit…Jirou-san bluntly stated the word. This audit was different from the others that we had before; high government officials whom had never come to these audits joined us. …It was obvious that this was not going to be good news…
Tomitake: “As you all know, the Alphabet Project was created to strengthen post-war Japan’s presence in the world through the view of developing defensive weapons. However, we are now in the 1980s and the 21st century is just over the horizon. In this day and age, we must put the past behind us and start looking for a new world that is waiting for us in the 21st century.”
What he just said was straight and to the point. Japan has already let go of the pre-war glories of militarism and is cutting off its ties to the ghosts that wished to regain the militaristic might of the pre-war era.
Tomitake: “It has been almost forty years since the end of the war. Our country has contributed much to the world through various peaceful methods. We’ve created a large and strong alliance with the United States and it is safe to say our country is a major player in world affairs. We had kept up to our promise to forever renounce war and nuclear weapons, and we are known for being a nation of peace. In the future, our presence and influence will grow even larger for being so as well.”
The main sponsors of the Irie Facility, the Alphabet Project, were a group of people who wanted to find a weapon that would be deterrent to a nuclear weapon in which Japan was forbidden to own. This was the main reason to establish this place in the first place. …So by seeing that they’ve come to the subsidiary like the Irie Facility and giving us an explanation like this, is analogous in saying that Japan has renounced nuclear weapons
. It was apparent that the head wind against the Irie Facility will become much larger and much colder as time progresses…
The roll of dice that came up with one which hasn’t showed up since that cold stormy night is beginning to loom over my fate once again…
…I’m not going to cry in avail from just a result from a roll of dice... My will is not going to lose against by some playful trick of god’s roll of dice…!
Tomitake: “Hence, it is our judgment to review the Alphabet Project to one that is more befitting of our times. The new Alphabet Project will be redesigned in figuring out the best way for Japan to achieve a larger presence in world affairs not through militaristic means, but through more peaceful measures such as international trade and economic development.”
The pezzonovante who wielded tremendous influence within the politics and economy of Japan were all born in the pre-war generation. Their main dream is to regain the glory days of pre-war Japan. To them, they were like ghosts of the war who seriously believed that Japan can once again win a war if they were capable of developing a new bomb – just like the one that caused Japan’s defeat. …In fact, everyone believed that these men were like such ghosts who desperately grasped to such ideology. But no one dared to go up against them.
But it is inevitable that the old will just wither away and a newer generation will become the leaders of this country. Grandpa Koizumi was the last remaining pillar of the old guards. And with his death, it is time for the new generations to step in to the arena.
All the things that they previously could not argue against are now being debated and reviewed extensively. As for the Alphabet Project, heated debates were exchanged in which government officials began to openly oppose the rationale of its existence; a prime example of wasting taxpayers’ money by sucking money out of the treasury for the benefit of satisfying the personal reasons of a small group of people.
The powers once held by the old guards started to become assimilated and usurped...into the hands of the newer generation of politicians.
Tomitake: “Henceforth, the budgets allocated for all the projects that fall under the Alphabet will be reviewed extensively. And of course, the Irie Facility is no exception. We would like to ask for you complete cooperation and understanding of these matters. Thank you.”
Irie: “…..Understood. Our research is conducted in thanks to our sponsors. We will give our full cooperation and acknowledgement.”
Irie’s response was appropriate, but I could tell the bewilderment he must be having in his head.
The Irie Facility has the state-of-the-art equipment and the best researchers available. Simply put, this research uses up a lot of money very quickly. …From a standpoint of someone who could care less about the Hinamizawa Syndrome, people would wonder why so much money is being put into researching about some disgusting parasites.
If they are going to revise the budget, fine. So we’ve probably wasted some money by spending some of it too lavishly. It’s only going to be revised to a more appropriate budget. …We may have to cut some corners, but it’s something we can work around it. …At least that’s how I initially took it. …But when a roll of dice shows up as one, it clearly is a one.
Auditor: “…And so, a new oversight committee was created this April, and came up with the following decision to all related projects. I’ll be passing around these sheets and we’ll go over them as we go along.”
The papers began to be passed around clockwise. He started explaining the details written on the sheets, but I speed-read through the material so that I can learn about their ridiculous decision…
Auditor: “The Irie Facility was able to procure a spectacular achievement in finding out the mystery of an unknown disease called the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and even discovered a method to cure it as well. The committee is very well pleased by your accomplishments. They highly praise the efforts of Director Irie and the staff members of the Irie Facility for executing such a marvelous feat.”
Irie: “…Thank you.”
Despite receiving such a congratulatory praise from our members in government, both Irie and I remain cautious. It is customary to give the contradictory statements first before moving onto the main subject. If the main issue is something good, they start off with the bad news first. And it’s vice-versa when the main issue is bad...
Auditor: “The Irie Facility had two objectives to accomplish. The first objective was the research of the Hinamizawa Syndrome and finding its cure. The second objective was to study the possibility of utilizing the disease for military purpose. The new committee has decided to abandon this latter objective. They have decided that it is just an Achilles’ heel for Japan to be researching about biological weapons in this day and age. The Irie Facility is ordered to immediately cease all operations related to the latter objective.”
Irie: “Understood. We will comply as stated.”
Irie agreed to their demands immediately. No surprise here - he was assertive in the research to find a cure for the disease, but he was passive on researching its use for military purposes from the beginning. Hence, it wasn’t difficult for him to concur to such demands.
But to me, this whole thing is a charade. This research is only going to be limited towards treatment with these demands. …To me, finding a cure is just a by-product of my main goal to unravel the entire mystery.
Auditor: “And as for the Irie Facility, we would like to ask you to conclude your research within the next three years at the latest. The budget allocated for this project will be decreased accordingly.”
Irie: “W…Wait…! We’ve only figured out the details of the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and there is still much research to be done to find a better cure! Yes, it is true that we’re moving ahead, but there is no way we can accomplish our research within such a short time limit as three years…!”
Auditor: “It is to the committee’s understanding that the Irie Facility has already accomplished such a feat in which a total treatment is within arm’s reach. The Irie Facility has already produced the C117 vaccine, and much data has already been compiled…”
Irie: “I object…! The vaccines are just prototypes, and they are far from being absolutely effective! We still have not come up with a concrete plan to cure a vast population on the scale of the entire village! If I may say so, it is rather obtuse to assume that our research has been concluded when in fact, much more is still needed…!”
I was surprised at Irie’s objection. Thanks to him, I didn’t have to voice out my opinions. …If he didn’t I was certain that I would’ve stood up in hysteria.
Auditor: “Then from what I gather from your opinion, the Irie Facility considers the treatment of the entire village from the Hinamizawa Syndrome to be impossible at this moment?”
Irie: “Yes, that is exactly right. It is highly possible that we can achieve that goal to eradicate the Hinamizawa Syndrome from all the villagers in the future, and we agree to set that as our primary objective. But in order to do so, we need more time and more funds. Our job is done through researching the unknown, trial-and-error, and establishing our theories as true. It is very different from other jobs where one can always achieve a goal by following planned schedules and established blueprints. We would like the committee to understand the difference between our job and others.”
I was amazed at how Irie can be so vocal on his opinions. What he says is true – scientific research is a job in which one cannot obtain a goal through just time and money. …But I still have to disagree with some of his statements. …While Irie is on my side with regards to time and funds, his speech right now practically stated that he agrees completely with focusing on treating the Hinamizawa Syndrome as the primary objective. ….That’s not enough! We can never uncover the mystery of the disease with just that! The discovery of the Hinamizawa Syndrome is not enough for praising my grandfather…!
Auditor: “I see, you do have a point there, Director Irie. Our main concern is the fact that Japan was secretly conducting research into biological weapons for military purposes. Hence, it is our view that we must forever classify and hide the fact that we have been researching such a strange disease as the Hinamizawa Syndrome in the first place. Furthermore, the discovery of the Hinamizawa Syndrome itself must be put into the dark. If the complete eradication of the Hinamizawa Syndrome can be accomplished, it is desirable to us to commit further time and funds to achieve that goal. …Will it be okay for you to wait on this decision while we discuss this matter ourselves?”
Irie: “Yes, I have no problem with that.”
Auditor: “Then we would like to ask the Irie Facility to submit a draft plan and budget proposal to eradicate the Hinamizawa Syndrome in secrecy. We will do our best on our part on your proposal.”
Irie: “Understood. We will submit a plan immediately.”
Auditor: “Please don’t take this in the wrong context. We are not saying we want to put an end to this research immediately. We are more than willing to conclude this research in the best possible way. Please make a note of that.”
Irie: “…Of course. I understand.”
….While the two parties were discussing this amongst themselves, …I was struck dumbfounded with the statement one of them just said…
Eradicate the Hinamizawa Syndrome in secrecy
That’s the same as saying that the Hinamizawa Syndrome didn’t exist in the first place….
….There’s no way for my grandfather’s name to be known then….
As the audit progressed with rustling papers…all I could do was sit there while clutching my sweating palms as the second hand of the clock slowly ticked away…
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